SCIE Guide 7

Published November 2004

About this guide


There are over 70,000 children and young people looked after on any given day in the UK, almost 50,000 (62.5 per cent) of whom live with 37,000 foster families.

Foster children have difficult early lives. Their needs are great, their educational performance can be poor, their childhoods in foster care and out of it are often unstable. In their adult lives they are at greater risk than others of a wide variety of difficulties. It can also be difficult for those people working to place children in foster care.

This does not mean to say however, that fostering cannot provide a positive experience for children and young people. For many children, fostering can provide a loving and stable environment away from home and is a better alternative than remaining at home.


This guide aims to help foster care practitioners provide positive experiences through fostering for more children and young people by enabling people to think creatively about their work.

However, fostering is a vast field and this guide covers only those topics covered in SCIE knowledge reviews 4 and 5 (1, 2) and two other recent studies (3).

The guide does explore a number of areas though and you will see these listed on the left hand menu. The guide looks at:


The guide is designed for foster care practitioners, carers, teams and services and anyone with an interest in good practice in fostering, including foster carers and fostered children and young people.

Using this guide

The SCIE website is divided into three columns: the left, middle and right columns. The topics that are covered in this guide are listed in the left hand column. Click on these to access the topics.

Within each topic there are several pages of information, which you can skip to using the navigation in the middle column. All of the links are in blue. The right hand column also has links in the lozenges, either to a PDF of the guide so that you can print it out or to other relevant information. The links may also repeat those listed in the middle column just so you don't miss anything!


All SCIE resources are free to download, however to access the following download you will need a free MySCIE account:

Available downloads:

  • Fostering